Cayman’s artists show off talent ahead of Barbados festival

Cayman’s actors, musicians and dancers performed on the Harquail Theatre stage over the weekend for a three-day showcase of the upcoming Caribbean Festival of Arts in Barbados.

More than 40 Caymanian cultural ambassadors are expected to travel to Carifesta in Barbados on Aug. 17 for the 10-day celebration of Caribbean identity, arts and culture.

Performers will reconvene next week to practice and polish their work before traveling to the main event, says Henry Muttoo, artistic director of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation.

“Obviously most of the people are not professionals, so they have been working really hard to get to the level of professionalism that we require them to have. I think we are quite pleased with what is going down,” Muttoo adds.

Cayman’s contingent includes performances from Dance Cayman, a showing of Frank S. McField’s “Playground,” music from Swanky Kitchen Band and food prepared by young chefs.

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Designers Jawara Alleyne and Isy Obi will also bring samples of their work to display.

Alleyne says his fashion captures the complexity of Caribbean identity.

Swanky Kitchen Band filled the stage Sunday with a full lineup on the final night of the Carifesta Showcase.

“The collection I’m displaying is called ‘Layers of Self.’ It’s about exploring my own culture and background, and the many different layers that make up what it means to be a Caribbean designer, a Caribbean man, a Caribbean artist,” Alleyne says.

Obi says she drew inspiration for her latest designs from mermaid mythology.

“The concept is the mermaid tale. It’s a story found across different cultures in the Caribbean, to Europe to Africa to Asia. It’s fitting to use this concept for a sampling that I’m going to present in Carifesta, which combines different cultures we find here in Cayman,” Obi says.

The delegation provides a broad range of Cayman’s artistic talent, Mr. Muttoo says, with performers as young as 14 joining the festivities.

Troy Rodgers, Matt Brown and LeBron McLean perform Friday evening at Carifesta in Frank S. McField’s work ‘Playground.’
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